Kelli Nina Perkins is a multitalented artist. Whether she's making something utilitarian like a bookmark or one of her fun whimsical pieces, like her scrappy crows, Kelli's artwork will catch your eye. It's colorful and bold…and fun. Kelli works in a variety of media, including needle felting, recycled art, and printmaking, to name a few. Her artwork includes art quilts, art dolls, jewelry, pillows, ATCs (artist trading cards), artist books, and more.
Kelli's art has appeared in both Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors publications, and she has written a hugely popular book titled Stitch Alchemy—the best resource for learning techniques for integrating paper and cloth to create quilted mixed media art. I had so much fun in an interview I did with Kelli last year, that I decided to share it with you again:
Barbara: Your artwork is so colorful and happy; I love the palette that you seem to favor. Do you choose the fabric first and then come up with a project, or vice versa?
Kelli: Project first. When the idea comes to me, I start to sketch out the concepts. Then I move on to the what if's. What if I used buttons, what if I used batting, what if I incorporated a layer of paper? When I have the basic premise worked out, I turn to the materials and begin auditioning them for the work. If nothing speaks to me, I have to step back and create the materials before I can continue.
Barbara: I see you do a lot of stitching in your artwork. Do you prefer to sew by hand or by machine? I see you seem to do both quite often in your artwork.
Kelli: Machine sewing can create a kind of raw feeling. It can be messy and scrawling like graffiti, or measured and precise, depending on how it's done. I use the most elementary of stitches, the straight and zigzag stitch. When I add hand stitching, it's because I want more texture, or wish to impart a sense of randomness. Seed stitches are a little uncontrollable.The juxtaposition of opposites like hand and machine stitching is always very interesting to me. They're better when they're paired, so you can appreciate them next to each other.
A true mixed-media artist, Kelli is sure to inspire you to mix your media. Pick up a copy of Stitch Alchemy while it's on sale, and be sure to check out the rest of my fascinating interview with Kelli Nina Perkins.